Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other private sector operators on Tuesday painted a gloomy picture of how the foreign exchange restriction placed on 41 items by the Central Bank of Nigeria had affected operations in the business sector.
According to them, the restriction order was placed last year, about 272 firms had been forced out of business, 50 of which were manufacturing companies.
While some of the affected manufacturers have relocated to neighbouring countries, at least 222 small-scale businesses have closed shops, leading to 180,000 job losses.
As a result of the negative impact of the policy on the operations of manufacturers, stakeholders in the economy including MAN, the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry are insisting that the policy must be reviewed.
They disclosed this at the launch of a report on the manufacturing sector by NOI Polls Limited, in collaboration with the Centre for the Studies of Economies of Africa.
MAN Director of Economics and Statistics, Mr. Ambrose Oruche, lamented the unavailability of productive inputs, stating that has been the major challenge confronting manufacturers, attributing the problem largely to the ban by the CBN on certain items from accessing the official window of the FOREX market, adding that the current operating environment was too harsh for many manufacturers to continue operation.
“Presently, about 50 manufacturers have closed shop, while some have downsized. Some manufacturers are still producing due to their love for this country. Government’s policy on cement should have been adopted in this case.
“In the case of cement, Nigeria used to be a net importer of cement, but the government set up a policy over a five-year period, which made it possible that today, we are a net exporter of the commodity.”
He also listed high interest rates, poor power supply, policy inconsistency, poor patronage of locally manufactured products, poor supporting infrastructure, among others, as the challenges confronting manufacturers.